My Girl Crush: Michelle Obama

I’m not gonna lie. I have a crush on Michelle Obama. So much so, that out of ever female speaker on this planet, the only person who I have seen twice is Michelle. The first time was when I was invited to the White House for a private event for mom bloggers where she appeared as a featured speaker and the second was with my daughter while she was on tour for her new book Becoming.

I just want you to know – if you are deciding whether to buy the book, my advice is to buy it so you have it as a memento but then download it on Audible.com and listen to Michelle narrate her life while you’re walking the dog, driving to pick your kids up from school, riding to work, shopping at the supermarket or riding the subway. It’s 40+ hours of pure inspiration, laughter and a twinge of sadness too. 

What I loved most about the book was that it was relatable on so many levels – whether you grew up in a neighborhood much like Michelle’s on Euclid Avenue on the South Side of Chicago where her family experienced racism first hand as neighbors began moving away as a result of “white flight”; to the high school guidance counselor who told her she wasn’t “Princeton material” and she was determined to prove her wrong – earning degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School. Then there’s her courtship with Barack, who she mentored when he was a summer associate at the law firm where she worked; and her early years raising her two girls while she balanced her career as her husband pursued politics in Chicago and on the national stage.

Michelle Obama truly epitomizes every working mom I know. We grew up with a fire in our bellies determined to succeed but when we became moms, we realized we had to figure out a different path to pursue our passions while being there for our kids when they needed us most. I also loved the fact that she truly found her passion after meeting Barack – he was her “swerve” which led her to let go of the frenetic pace of climbing an unfulfilling corporate ladder so she could do something much more impactful with her life. 

Michelle Obama is not only inspiring to my generation, but to my daughter and her friends as well. There was a sea of mother/daughters at the Wells Fargo Center last week and we were all giddy with excitement. In fact, many of us met on the SEPTA train headed to the event and I joked that this was our version of the World Series. When we were standing in line to get into the concert venue, there was a camera crew out front and a woman couldn’t contain her excitement sharing why she was so thrilled to have the chance to hear Michelle Obama speak. It was like an Oprah Winfrey moment…You get car! You get a car! And You Get a Car! The energy surrounding all of us was positively electric.

via GIPHY

At the heart of it, we were all aching to be inspired again. Many of us are just tired and shell shocked by the last two years and we are so ready to believe that things will turn around for the better. For my daughter, I was thrilled for her to hear sage words of advice from the former First Lady about the importance of ignoring the naysayers because once you do achieve your dreams or gain acceptance to places that are oftentimes occupied by people with mediocre intelligence at best, you will come to find that you might just be the smartest person in the room and that will feel damn good.

I feel lucky to have been able to share this unforgettable experience with my daughter and cannot wait to see what she achieves in her lifetime. As for me, as I write my next chapter, I’m taking everything Michelle said to heart about what I am becoming. I’m trying my best not to have regrets about the decisions I have made over the years, only planning for the future as I focus on things I love to do while exposing my own kids to opportunities and experiences that will help guide them towards whatever it is they’re supposed to become. 

So thanks Michelle. I will forever have a girl crush on you. I do hope to see you again someday. Something tells me if I keep dreaming, doing and becoming, I absolutely will. 

How to Snap Out of it When You’re in a Funk

I don’t know what it is about this time of year. Maybe it’s the fact that I have to keep my space heater on at all times in my sunroom because the frigid air is managing to seep through the window frames. Or I’m sitting in front of a computer sending out emails to countless contacts in my industry and no one seems to be responding. Or the to do list I set out for myself today seems to never get done.

Whatever it is, I am officially in a funk and haven’t really been able to snap out of it for several months. Now let me be clear. I have a really good life – a loving husband, great kids and parents too but that’s what you see on the surface. I’m also in the midst of a sandwich generation situation where I’m dealing with the fact that my parents are getting older and not doing that well health wise while my kids are headed towards their late teens and almost 20 and dealing with tougher issues that I never thought I’d ever have to deal with in my life.

In a word, I’m tired. Okay, that’s two words but you get the gist. I have also been trying to reinvent my career which feels as if it has stalled but in reality, it hasn’t. I just don’t know what I want to do next and am being uber cautious about every single step I take. 

So how do you get out of a funk you ask?  Here’s my advice:

  1. Do not spend the entire day working in front of a computer. That’ll get anyone depressed.

2. Write a list of what you want to accomplish that day and always include something that feeds your soul – whether it’s exercise, singing, dancing or writing. Whatever it is, just do it.

3. Get off social media. The minute you get sucked into the vortex of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you can kiss at least 1-2 hours of your life away. Plus, each time you scroll through your feed and see people doing things you used to be able to do in your career, don’t start getting wistful or angry that you’re not included anymore. Suck it up buttercup and focus on you!

4. Walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, then get outside and just take a walk. The more you change your surroundings, the better you will feel.

5. Turn off breaking news notifications on your phone. Every time I see my phone light up, I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. So turn off those notifications and if you want to check in from time to time, then great but otherwise, what you don’t know at that second is not going to kill you.

6. Call a friend. Yes. I really said pick up your phone and don’t text someone. Go old school and call them to say hello.

7. Plan a vacation. While you may not have any money to go away, it’s never too early to start checking to see how many points you have and use them wisely. Maybe you can plan a getaway on points and that will definitely make you happy.

8. Volunteer. I know you’re busy but there are so many people who are less fortunate than you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, get out there and help others because honestly, that totally feeds the soul.

9. Bake. I used to hate cooking and now whenever I’m feeling down, I head to the kitchen and start cooking. In fact, I think I may just whip up a banana bread tonight while I’m feeling blue.

10. Binge watch your favorite TV show. Whether you want to slip under the covers and escape back to your 20s with “Friends” or you just want to catch up on last week’s episode of “This is Us,” there really is nothing better than ditching your to do list for a little mindless TV streaming. 

Wouldn’t you know it, I think I’m feeling better already. Now it’s time to get back to work. Then again, maybe not.